Dear Cherokee Heights School Community,
Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! We are excited to deepen our relationships with you, and we look forward to supporting our students, whether returning to Cherokee Heights or new to our school, throughout their journey with us.
As we start this school year, I want to take a moment to talk about the challenges and the opportunities this year brings. Our work together as a school community will need to be different and we will need to stand up to a dual pandemic: COVID-19 and racial violence. The experiences of the recent months have shined a bright light on stark, unaddressed inequities in our world and in our own community. While we will remain steadfast in our continued commitment to academic excellence, innovative practices, school safety, and inclusive excellence, the way we work with students and with one another needs to look and feel different.
This challenge brings an opportunity–an opportunity to make true, positive change.
This year we will push each other to examine our systems, policies, and teaching practices through an antiracist lens. We will identify and break down the barriers that marginalize people of color and LGBTQ+ communities. We will lean on what matters, our relationships with one another, engaging students in relevant and rigorous curriculum, and elevating the voice and excellence of Black and Brown youth and adults. We need to understand and accept our history in order to understand how over four hundred years of injustices and racism has plagued our nation, including our schools. But we have an opportunity to make change in our school. But our school cannot do this work alone. Our work this year will take our entire community, and we need you on board with us.
We must begin by looking out across our school community and taking the time to truly see each other. While the start of the school year can be an exciting and celebratory time, we need to respect that many members of our school community might be facing collective trauma due to the Coronavirus pandemic and racial violence. In addition to the anxiety the virus may bring, some students and families may fear that their language, their skin color,
their race, and their mere presence might make them and their family a target. Therefore, our school will be a place of community and healing. We will make every effort to build relationships and connectedness across our community. We will leverage our restorative justice circles to come together in the classroom and in our community to listen and learn from each other, so that we can move forward, together. My hope is that all of us will participate in the restorative justice circles.
As a school, we are committed to partnering with all members of our school community to ensure safe, healthy spaces that affirm the identity of each and every student and adult, respecting and including the assets they bring. We do this in service of safe, welcoming spaces for students to learn in, for all staff to work in, and for all community members to visit. We are dedicated to ensuring that Cherokee Heights Middle School will continue to be a joyful place of learning where we all belong.
To all our students, staff, and families, we welcome you, we cherish you, and we are excited we will be together.
Dr. Anu Ebbe
Principal, Cherokee Heights Middle School
In order to grow academically and personally, community members will work together to build a just and antiracist school where we all feel safe, seen, heard, and connected.